A recent survey commissioned by the Hawaii tourism Authority confirmed what we’ve been saying here for a long time; the people of Hawaii appreciate and understand how important YOU are to our economy and that we want you here. According to the report, 80% of the people polled agreed that tourism brings more benefits than problems to the state which was 7 percentage points higher than in 2007. Understandably, many folks here realize that the visitor industry won’t solve all of the problems we have or preserve Hawaiian culture.
Tourism began in Hawaii at a time when there was a steady U.S. military buildup and the creation of the pineapple canning industry. Tourism was spurred in 1936 by the inauguration of commercial air service. The tourist industry in the islands began to flourish, but people in Hawaii were uncomfortable with the presence of U.S military people, most of whom were Caucasian.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor pretty-much killed tourism, but after World War II, the U.S. rediscovered Hawaii and American tourists began arriving by the boatload. This was a little troublesome to some to the local people, who already were not happy with the military personnel population explosion. Fights were common outside the military bases, especially in the bars where military personnel would spend their weekend passes and furloughs.
Soon, tourism became the major industry in Hawaii. That meant plenty of jobs, but those jobs were menial and poorly paid. The resentment grew through the 1950s, then began subsiding in the 60s. As generation followed generation and the Caucasian population was blending in, visitors became more than welcome and “the people” became the first thing returning vacationers would say they liked best.
Over the years the Hawaii tourism officials and organizations have taken steps to continue to focus on driving demand for travel to Hawaii while at the same time understanding the importance of protecting Hawaii’s natural resources and to perpetuate Hawaii’s host culture. Hawaii Tourism Authority has budgeted more than $1.6 million per Hawaiian cultural and natural resource programs this year.
So if you’re planning a Hawaii vacation you can expect to be treated as a welcome guest and can rest assured, that for the most part, the people of Hawaii appreciate you visiting and are glad you’re here.
Posted by: Bruce Fisher